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Digital Media FX News Archives
- April 8, 2001
Disney's Laugh-O-Gram Studios
The two-story brick building located at 31st and Forest Streets was the site of Walt Disney's first film studio, Laugh-O-Gram, which he incorporated in 1922. The studio, operated out of five rooms and occupied by as many as eleven employees (including Ub Iwerks), is where Walt Disney befriended a very special mouse. Working long hours and late nights, Disney would feed the little mouse who would come out to retrieve the remains of his employees' lunches. Disney eventually trained the mouse to eat from his hand, and it would play on his drawing board while he worked. Five years later, that mouse became the inspiration for the world's most famous furry creature, Mickey Mouse.
The work Disney did in the building at 31st and Forest Streets set the pattern for his future films. He produced approximately a dozen short films there, including six one-reel cartoons based loosely on classic fairy tales and children's stories, as well as a number of live action films. The young men who worked with Disney in Kansas City became the foundation of his California film studio and pioneers of the Hollywood animation industry.
With it's collapsing roof and boarded up windows, the building which housed the Laugh-O-Gram studio in midtown Kansas City hardly looks like the birthplace of the world's biggest entertainment empire. In fact, vacant for ten years, the building was slated for demolition until it was discovered by Columbia, Mo.-based Disney enthusiast Dan Viets, who partnered with a Kansas City not-for-profit group, Thank You Walt Disney, and purchased the building three years ago.
The Disney enthusiasts hope to preserve and restore the building, and establish a museum on the site. Plans for the museum include a permanent gallery of Disney artifacts, as well as a temporary exhibit room with a rotating display of artifacts loaned to the museum by Disney historians from around the world. The building will also house a re-creation of the original Laugh-O-Gram Studio, space for local art students to make their own animated films, a small theater that will show films made in the studio, as well as historical and biographical films on Walt Disney's life. The museum will also host rotating lectures and films.
"The restoration is a very community-oriented project to save a historic landmark," said Viets. "We are optimistic that within a few years the important role Disney's Kansas City experiences played in his future work will be commemorated in a historic site. The site will be an asset to the culture and heritage of Kansas City."
Recently, the group received a pledge of $450,000 from the Walt Disney Family Foundation to help restore the famed cartoonist's Kansas City studio.
The Laugh-O-Gram Studio
groundbreaking is one of several events happening across Missouri to commemorate
Walt Disney's 100th birthday on December 5, 2001. Marceline, Mo., located
about 90 miles from Kansas City in north-central Missouri was the home
of Walt Disney for five years beginning in 1906. On September 21-23, 2001,
this small town of 2,500, located along the former Atchinson Topeka and
Santa Fe Railroad, will host Walt Disney's 100th Birthday Celebration
-- a series of activities to commemorate Disney's 100th birthday and his
formative years spent there. Many of the planned activities will be held
along Marceline's Main Street, the model for "Main Street, U.S.A.,"
the entryway to Disneyland.
Behind the Scenes
of Jurassic Park 3
Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) and Stan Winston are the FX wizards behind all three Jurassic Park movies. While everyone has been tight-lipped about what will be seen in Jurassic Park 3, Stan Winston does say that there is a particular FX sequence that will absolutely blow audiences away. But you'll have to see the movie to find out what it is, although it will deal with a dinosaur known as a Spinosaur which is "bigger and better than the T-Rex."
Sam Neill, reprising his role as Dr. Alan Grant, states that Jurassic Park 3 has a new cast, new story, new director and is "substantially different from what we did the first time and certainly the second."
So what, exactly, is the story about? To date Universal Pictures has only released the following synopsis:
"Anxious to fund research for his new theory of velociraptor intelligence, renowned paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) is persuaded by a wealthy adventurer (William H. Macy) and his wife (Tea Leoni) to accompany them on an aerial tour of Isla Sorna. This infamous island, once InGen's site B, has become both a primordial breeding ground for John Hammond's magnificent creations and a magnet for thrill-seekers eager to encounter them.
When a tragic accident maroons the party of seven, Grant discovers the true reason his deceptive hosts have invited him along. In their perilous attempt to escape with their lives, the dwindling group encounters terrifying new creatures undisclosed by InGen, and Grant is forced to learn the dreadful implications of his raptor intelligence theory firsthand."
So why the lack of
marketing of Jurassic Park 3 so far where past films had built
anticipation years in advance? It could be part of the philosophy of Joe
Johnston, Jurassic Park 3 director, to not over-hype or over-build
audience expectations. Joe Johnston's past films, like October Sky,
have been soft on building expectations while being widely recognized
with critical acclaim as entertaining movies with strong stories. Take
a strong story and put it in the Jurassic Park world and it can
turn into a Jurassic gold mine.
Jurassic Park 3 will hit theaters on Friday, July 20. The movie takes place on the same island featured in Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World and follows a search and rescue type story complete with dinosaurs bigger than the T-Rex and some classic flying dinosaurs. ILM handled the major CGI work for dinosaur action sequences (like dinosaurs chasing humans). Meanwhile, Stan Winston once again brings huge robotic dinosaurs to life for many of the direct interaction scenes.
When asked if technical advances are made to the mechanical dinosaurs between movies, Stan Winston stated, "We do have technical advances. We go for a technical advance in every show we do."
Click here to see a 55-minute AOL "behind the scenes" Jurassic Park 3 interview with Stan Winston.
You can see the movie
trailer for Jurassic Park 3 in front of The Mummy Returns,
which opens in theaters nationwide on May 4, 2001.
Sends Pokemon 3 Packing
Just Visiting, the medieval time travel movie where knights are transported to modern days failed to make the top 10 on its opening Friday.
News Link of the
Day - Pokémon's Market Crash Holds Lessons for Young Traders
"Mike Loprete stood at the counter of a comic- book store, slowly shook his 11-year-old head and remembered when he was rich.
Back in 1999, when
the Pokémon fad was the talk of every playground, Mike's collection
of cards, neatly stored at his home in Roseland, N. J., was worth hundreds
of dollars. But like investors in dot-com flameouts and other once- highflying
technology stocks who thought the Nasdaq could rise forever, Mike sat
on his assets and watched them dwindle away..."
here for the full story. (may require free registration to
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